One evening in January 1996, I received a call from Peter Sprouse - the Bus guy. I met Peter in April 1995 at the first Texas POWER WAGON Reunion I attended. Peter had spotted this truck near Ozona out in west Texas. The owner did not want to sell it then, but promised Peter he'd let him know if he changed his mind.
Now, several years later he had called Peter to let him know the truck was available. It's a credit to the values held by most of the older Texas country gentlemen. They keep their promises. It was also a matter of good fortune that he had not lost Peter's number or that the number had not changed.
Luckily for me, Peter did not want to buy it at that time. He told the owner he would pass this on to another guy (me) who he was sure would be interested. I was just getting started and my typical "newbie" enthusiasm was very obvious. I will always be grateful to Peter Sprouse for thinking of me.
I did not have a "real" POWER WAGON then. There were several project trucks "grazing" out on my place and my WC-21 which had displaced my wife's car was staying comfortable in the garage.
I called the owner right away and made an appointment to come look at the truck. I also learned a little bit about the give and take involved in dealing with one of these Texas country gentlemen. He had indicated he was not inclined to sell for lower than his asking price. I drove the 240 miles to Ozona, Texas, and met the owner at the Firestone store he owned. He had brought the truck in from where it had been on his ranch. I managed to achieve a little surprise when I showed up with a service manual, a parts list, and a mechanics creeper to give it a detailed examination. This was for appearances if I had to give another try at negotiating the price.
I examined the truck carefully. Everything was where it should be, except the wiper motors which were in the glove box - yes, the glove box! Windshield, door glass, window regulators - AOK! Spare tire, mounted properly and inflated - Check! The bed sides were straight but the stake pockets needed some attention. The floor was the original wood with a thin sheet of steel laid in to handle any abrasion. The tailgate was there but also needed some work. The left rear fender had suffered a minor impact. The paint had faded from bright red to dull orange and there was a little surface rust on the hood.
Then I drove it around on his lot. Four gears forward and one in reverse - Check! 4WD in and out -Check! High range and low range - Check! PTO engaged and disengaged - Check! Winch spooled in and out - Check! Soon I ran out of things to examine. I'm not good at Poker, but I bet he was. As he watched my examination, he had a bit of a smile that grew as I went along. As each item passed my inspection, I was less and less inclined to dispute his asking price - and he knew it, too. So I gave him some cash, he gave me a good title, I loaded it on my trailer and brought it home.
This truck had been sitting and needed all the usual reconditioning. Brakes - bleed, adjust, bleed, rebuild two wheel cylinders, bleed, adjust, and bleed. Replace exhaust pipe and muffler. Have the local muffler shop make a longer exhaust pipe so the muffler would be located farther back and not transmit as much heat to the cab floor. Rewire everything using the WDX wiring diagram. The truck had been converted to 12v, but the alternator and/or voltage regulator was shot. Go to a one-wire alternator. Convert vacuum wipers to electric. (Details in Technical Support section) Get seat springs rehabilitated and the seat recovered at a local shop. Add back-up lights. Check everything out. Safety inspection - PASSED! Take it to my first POWER WAGON Rally at Fairfield in 1996.
Here's my 1947 WDX - a very complete original, unrestored example.
OOPS! How did that picture get here. Click here to see more of this Dodge POWER WAGON WDX.
On the Square at Fairfield, Iowa, April 1996
This truck was set up for an "A" frame hoist that could be raised and lowered with the winch.